Tag Archives | family

10 Things to Stop Caring About Today

truth-about-successWe waste so much of our lives caring about unimportant things, foolish things, and unchangeable things. So much time, energy, and stress unnecessarily squandered. There is so little of us to go around and so much out there that is worth caring about.

Some things you can feel free to stop caring about

Other people’s expectations for your life

This is your life. You are the one who has to live it. You have to live with the consequences of the decisions you make and the actions you take, so you should make them according to what you want for and from your life, not what someone else thinks you “should” do with your life. We care way too much about what other people think about us and far too little about what we think about ourselves.

How much you weigh

It’s just a number people! We live in such a weight-obsessed culture that our weight is often a measure by which we are judged and worse by which we judge ourselves. I’m not saying to stop caring about being healthy, that’s a completely different thing, and one definitely worth worrying about. Just don’t fixate on the number on the scale. Care about healthier food choices, care about how strong you are, how much exercise you’re getting, just stop attaching your value, your success, your confidence, your attractiveness and your health to this one single number.

How other people live

Let other people live their own lives, just as you’d like to be able to live yours. Stop judging what other people do and how they live. That’s their business. If it doesn’t affect you, stop caring about it. Stop comparing what you have, how you look, the money, the status, the possessions, the beauty to what you “think” others have. Don’t measure yourself against other people, measure yourself against your own yardstick.

How many Facebook friends you have

Same goes for Twitter followers. The number of social connections you have is not a good indicator of either the strength of your network or your true popularity. True connections are measured by the quality of interactions and the people you who actually care about you and what you have to say. How people respond to you and share with you is a far better indicator or your social status.

Perfection

We suffer so much anguish caring about being perfect. Perfection is nearly unattainable and our striving for it, costs us so much. Perfect is a waste of time, perfect is unreasonable, perfect is a recipe for stress. Pretty darn good is a better goal. It’s usually more than good enough and far less stressful. (Note: If you’re a brain surgeon or a pilot, please try for close to perfect, but as long as you leave my gray matter in place and get me on the ground safely, I’m good.)

Aging

You can’t stop the clock. It’s a fact, no matter how much you worry about it or how much money you spend trying to hide it, time is going to keep right on ticking and taking you along with it. Stop caring about how old you are. It’s not a good measure of the quality of life anyway. Or maybe it is…Studies have shown that people are actually happier as they age. So stop caring about your biological age and wrinkles (whether you have them or worry about getting them,) and start caring about what how you want to live the years you have left.

Fitting in

We place too much value on conformity. If you like to listen to jazz and wear purple shoes, go for it. If you are the sculptor in a family of accountants, good for you. No make-up, big jewelry, cowboy boots, bow tie, thrift store clothes, dinner on cushions, no TV…it’s all fine. You’re not hurting anyone, and though they may judge you, that’s their problem, not yours.

Star Watching

Why are we so obsessed with celebrities? From reality shows to magazines, entertainment news shows to paparazzi photos, clothing lines to hairstyles, we are so infatuated with the lives of the rich and famous. Why? Are we so unhappy in our own lives that we have to get our excitement and pleasure by watching public figures live theirs? Stop wasting your time caring about what famous people do, good, bad, crazy, sad or fabulous. It has nothing to do with you. It’s only a distraction from your own life.

Being right

We all want to be right. It must be intrinsically bred into our DNA, but more times than not, it’s very destructive. When we’re striving to be right, we’re focused on proving other people wrong. We’re grasping for power by trying to prove our infallibility. Care about finding solutions, collaborating with others to find the best answers, and cultivating relationships. Care about the result, not who is right or wrong.

Anything you can’t control

Stop caring about things you can’t control. If there’s nothing you can do to impact the person or the situation, then don’t waste your energy. There are so many important things in your life, in this world that you can affect. Focus on what you can change, where you can have the most impact, make a difference, and let the rest go.

Post originally written for lifehack.org

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10 Simple Ways to Find Balance and Get Your Life Back

1balanceLife balance seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind of late. We have discovered that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career or business success as well. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.

The big question is…What does life balance really mean? What would a balanced life look like to us? And most importantly, how do we go about achieving it in the midst of our crazy schedules?

There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new-found equilibrium. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits and you’ll never look back!

  • Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!
  • Trim, trim, trim – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!
  • Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity.
  • Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible
  • Spend time alone – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!
  • Relationships do matter – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you.
  • Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
  • Explore the world - Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!
  • Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.
  • Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

This post originally written for Lifehack.org

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8 Habits You May Not be Aware of that Speed up Aging

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We’re all probably aware that things like smoking and obesity shorten our lifespan, but what we may not be aware of is that there are many other seemingly harmless habits that are secretly aging us every day.

Wearing a “Worry Wart” badge

We can’t escape stress, but we can try to rein in our worrying tendencies. Worry not only make us unhappy, anxious, and mentally exhausted, not to mention the extra ice cream and comfort foods it entices us to ingest, but it actually ages the body. The constant release of cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline literally wear us out by lowering the immune system, raising blood pressure, and interfering with sleep, memory and mood.

What you can do – Try to put worries in perspective by looking at the big picture. Take a few deep breaths when anxiety rears its ugly head. Do something physical; take a walk or a few yoga poses. Meditation really does help as does setting aside a regular “worry time.” The key is not to let worry be a constant companion.

Being a sunscreen slacker

Sure, you remember to put on sunscreen when heading to the beach, but what about driving to work, walking the dog, or doing errands. Repeated daily exposure to the sun can actually cause significant premature aging. Researchers in Australia recently found in a study of 900 participants that those who consistently applied sunscreen daily had smoother, more resilient and younger looking skin. So not only does skipping the daily sunscreen raise the risk of skin cancer, it also weakens skin cells and can surprisingly make us more prone to bruising and skin injury.

What you can do – Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 15, preferably 30. Use a nickel size dollop for the face an amount equivalent to a shot glass to cover all exposed areas of the body every day. Once it becomes a habit, it will only take a few minutes and can save your skin years of premature leathery skin.

Having a “Sweet Spot” for sugar

We know sugar can pack on the pounds, but health experts now believe that sugar is secretly aging us. Sugar damages our skin by drying out the collagen and elastin that are naturally present, resulting in dull, dry, sagging and wrinkle prone skin.  This process, known as glycation also causes dark circles and puffiness. Both of which are not only unattractive, but make us look and feel older. These effects begin at about 35 and rapidly increase after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

What you can do – Let’s face it sugar is tough to eliminate completely, but trying to minimize consumption will pay off in a big way. Aim for no more than 10% of daily calories and watch out for those hidden sugars! Read labels and try to limit sweet treats to a few times per week.

You think exercise is only for weight-loss

Whether you need to lose weight or not, exercise literally helps turn back our body clock. Regular and consistent exercise, even something as simple as a daily 30 minute walk can reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve memory and concentration, increase muscle tone and best of all significantly reduce chronic stress. As a bonus, regular exercise will help the pounds stay off and protect our muscle mass and bone density.

What you can do – Go for a daily walk with a friend or Fido, take up a physical hobby or join a group sport or class. Get an exercise buddy or find an event to compete in. Anything that will motivate and make exercise more fun will help keep you active.

You hold a grudge

Holding on to a grudge or anger are not only damaging to your mental health, but they can age you physically as well. If you can let things go, you may be adding years to your body. Studies have shown a link between forgiveness and physical health. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine showed that a lack of forgiveness lowered sleep quality, increased stress causing hormones, raised blood pressure and elevated blood sugar resulting in weight gain and an increased likelihood of needing medication. In short, learn how to let go, and you may live longer.

What you can do – Recognize that holding on to anger and resentment hurt you more than the other person. Forgiveness does not mean that you need to be a victim or give trust where it’s not warranted. Learn to let things go and you may indeed live longer…not to mention happier. And that’s the best revenge anyway.

You’re too busy for your friends

When you were younger, your friends probably figured prominently in your calendar, but as we acquire more responsibility, demanding jobs, partners, parenting and household duties the time for friends slips away. But making time for friends isn’t a luxury. Studies have shown that sustaining friendships are better predictors of longevity than even family. Strong friendships can help alleviate depression, deal with mental stress as well as reduce our risk of many chronic conditions all of which age us prematurely.

What can you do – Carve regular friend time in your schedule, even if it’s just once a week. Do it digitally if you have to. While in person is best, communicating via email or Facebook count too. Reach out to old and new friends and put effort into cultivating log term relationships that nurture and support.

You love the remote

A British Journal of Sports Medicine study of 11,000 adults discovered that every hour in front of the TV shortens your life expectancy by 22 minutes, even more for the remote addicts among us, those who average more than six hours a day live on average five years less than non-TV watchers. It’s not so much about the TV watching, as it is the inactivity. But while you might not be able to change a sedentary job, you can control how much couch time you get.

What you can do – The simplest strategy is simply to watch less TV! But there are some tricks you might want to try. Watch TV while walking on the treadmill or exercising, but one of those portable stepper machines and work off those chips while you’re at it. Or try getting up to walk around during every commercial break.

You can’t remember the last time you had sex!

Yes, sex feels good, but it’s also fantastically healthy.  Research shows that an active sex life can help strengthen your immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce pain, relieve depression and the Journal of the American Medical Association now reports sex may even lower your risk for certain types of cancer. During sex, the body releases chemicals such as endorphin, serotonin, and other immune and mood boosting substances that not only make you healthier and happier, but can actually make you look years younger.

What you can do – Things like getting more sleep and exercising can increase sex drive and energy. Also, you might try reading erotic or romantic material, getting a quick massage or dressing the part to get in the mood. For the practical minded…schedule it. Swap out that favorite TV show for some extra “love time.” Your body…and your partner will thank you.

This post was originally published on Lifehack.org

Featured photo credit: delta creme donuts – lucianvenutian via flickr.com

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What Would You Do if You Had One Month to Live?

What would you do differently if you only had one month to live? Would you change jobs or leave relationship? Would you apologize or be more caring to others? Would you take a risk you’ve always wanted to take? Everyone’s answer will be different. The book One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life by Kerry & Chris Shook can help you answer those questions and guide you along that journey of changing the way you live your life.

From the book:

“Be brutally honest with yourself. Your time on earth is limited. Shouldn’t you start making the most of it? If you knew you had one month to live, you would look at everything from a different perspective. Many of the things you do now that seem so important would immediately become meaningless. You would have total clarity about what matters most, and you wouldn’t hesitate to be spontaneous and risk your heart. You wouldn’t wait until tomorrow to do what you need to do today. The way you lived that month would be the way you wished you had lived your whole life.

If you knew you had one month to live, your life would be radically transformed. But why do we wait until we’re diagnosed with cancer or we lose a loved one to accept this knowledge and allow it to free us? Don’t we want all that life has to offer? Don’t we want to fulfill the purpose for which we were created? Wouldn’t life be a lot more satisfying if we lived this way?

I’m challenging you to start living your life as though you have one month to live, and I’ve designed this book to help you. There are four universal principles in the one-month-to-live lifestyle: to live passionately, to love completely, to learn humbly, and to leave boldly. I’ve divided this book into four sections or “weeks” accordingly, and I encourage you to live these next thirty days as if they were your last.”

I find this book to be fascinating, thought-provoking and inspiring. Happy reading! What will you do with your one month?

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4 Things You Need To Know About Your Core Values

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“Core Values” is a term that’s thrown around a lot, especially in a business setting, but we have personal core values as well. It sounds more intimidating than it is. We all have them, whether we know it or not.

Our personal core values are our personal belief system, the way we filter our world, information, experiences, feelings, thoughts, etc. The way we walk, talk, believe and act, everything that happens in our lives.

Personal core values are developed mostly through life experiences and often other people install them in us knowingly or unknowingly – through either teaching, example or our rejection of them.

My personal core values are the filter of who I am.

Honesty, integrity, family, work ethic, money, health, fun, etc. Whatever they may be…every decision is guided by them. Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately…depending on your viewpoint…this is a major cause of conflict with other people who don’t share our values. It just is. Not bad, or good, just is.

Mini-Mission: 4 Things You Need To Know About Your Core Values

What are they? A Google search can help you identify and label…

How do you actively live them? Or do you actively ignore them?

Are your values congruent? Conflicting values make it impossible to thrive and grow.

Are they always open to change? We grow and change as we gather more life experience and so may our core values.

Something to think about

Your core values are who you are right now, not who you want to be. (Feel free to tweet that :) People tend to make lists of values, traits of the person they want to be…but if you aren’t actively living by them in the here and now, then they aren’t actually your values…now are they?

That thought was quite an eye opener for me…You mean

Your mission this week…Think about your personal core values…They are what drives your life, so they’re worth a bit of consideration. Consider the four questions above to help you get a better understanding.

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